MARKING HISTORY: “Rebel Rose” Greenhow
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Rose Greenhow, known as "Rebel Rose", was an expert in espionage.
She grew up in Washington during the 1800's, and became one of the most popular hostesses in town. She came to know the most influential politicians of the time, including President James Buchanan and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
She developed a strong allegiance to the Southern cause, but kept friendly relationships with Northern leaders. When war broke out, she was recruited and happily accepted a role as a Confederate spy.
In 1861, she learned of Union military movements as they were building up forces and advancing toward Richmond. Quickly, she wrote a message in secret code and had it sent to General Beauregard to warn him of the developments.
This allowed him to prepare his troops for battle, and secured a victory for the South at the First Battle of Bull Run.
Soon enough, Rose got caught. She was placed under house arrest, but still found ways to relay messages. Carefully-penned love letters to important Northern sources gave her the info, and adjusting her window blinds the the rythmn of Morse code served as a way to communicate outside.
In June of 1862, she was banished to the South where we was welcomed as a hero, and honored by Jefferson Davis. Rose became a diplomat, drumming up support for the Confederacy overseas. While coming home on the blockade runner Condor, it wrecked just 200 years from Fort Fisher.
While some survived the shipwreck, Rose did not. She is buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.
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